|Darren Alexander (taken from Google.com)|
Suggested By: Olivia C.
Name: Darren Alexander
Place: archery range
Object: Liter of Vernor's
Darren Alexander paced.
The wind caught his tufting ginger hair and blew it hither and thither, but he hardly noticed.
Pierre was late; it was not like him. Darren scanned the edge of the green for about the fiftieth time. He could only remain inconspicuous for so long.
He fingered the shaft of his bow, tugging at the strap of his quiver to a more comfortable spot on his shoulder. Every so often, he pulled an arrow out and pegged one of the twenty targets—just in case anyone was watching.
(He did say Wednesday, right? Of course he did; he distinctly remembered Pierre practically falling over himself to pronounce the difficult word... Wednesday... Pierre had finally given up at "Weddayznah"... But all things considered, he still knew which day Darren meant, didn't he?)
Pull... Breathe... Release.
How hard could it be? Pierre seemed to have no difficulty barging into Darren's life before. Painfully-Punctual Pierre could always be counted on to show up the very minute Darren dictated, every other time he required a meeting—even to the point of burrowing into Darren's kitchen when he was in the bathroom getting ready and running a few minutes late. Surely an archery range couldn't be more difficult to manage than that!
Darren cast another arrow, realizing just at the instant of release that he had been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't been aiming at a target when he shot. The arrow sailed off beyond the line of squat, boxy targets. Darren groaned and trudged off after the projectile.
Curse Pierre! He was done waiting. Whatever Pierre's big discovery was, he had missed his chance to present it. Darren would have to find another way of getting the—
Darren heard a ripping sound as the back of the target nearest him split open and a wizened little body tumbled out. The tiny French dwarf winked at him.
"You're la—" Darren started to call out to him, but stopped short when a second body crawled out of the tunnel! A young girl with dark hair blinked in the sudden light. Her jaw dropped and she stared around her in bewilderment.
"Who's this, then?" Darren exploded.
"L'Ecrivaine," Pierre asserted.
"What?" Darren watched her stumble about, muttering something about tunnels in France and now being in England. "You're bloody joking."
Pierre's "stink eye" stare was among his most intimidating features, even for one his size. He shrugged.
"Avez-vous le tonique?" He asked, holding out his hands.
Darren rolled his eyes. "Come on, Pierre! That can't be her! What am I supposed to do with her, eh?"
Pierre pretended to consider this a moment, then shrugged, still waiting for his "tonic."
Darren groaned and pulled out the liter of Vernor's ginger ale from his quiver. Pierre's eyes lit up, and he cradled the bottle in both hands lovingly.
Darren advanced one step, but before he could say a word, Pierre scuttled back into the tunnel under the target and vanished.
The girl was busy digging a hole in the ground with the toe of her trainer. She stood like she was waiting for Darren to tell her what to do.
"Well?" He demanded of her.
Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. "Oh..."
Darren sighed. "So you're the Ecrivaine, huh?"
The girl began to pace frantically. "I don't know what that means—"
Darren blinked. "You're an American?"
"Yeah," she looked slightly guilty about it. "My name is Faith; Faith Dunmore."
Darren stared incredulously. "And you're the Ecrivaine?"
"You guys keep calling me that, but I don't—"
"It means writer."
Faith stopped short. She glanced down at her folded arms, and Darren noticed that she carried a battered red notebook. "Oh," she breathed. "But I'm not—I mean, I don't—"
He sighed. "I'm Darren," he held out his hand, and she shook it. "Apparently, I am meant to be your protector and guide." His tone clearly proclaimed his resignation on that front. "Let's get you to where you need to go, eh, Ecrivaine?"
Faith winced. "Please don't call me that."
Darren chuckled, "Why not?"
"Because I'm not The Writer, I'm just a girl who writes!" She huffed. "I am not anyone special! I was just minding my own business when the dwarf—"
"Whatever! You know, now that I think of it—did you put him up to it?"
"Up to what?"
Faith stalked off on her own as she vented her frustration. "Everything! Stealing my notebook, digging the tunnel into my aunt's shed, making me read right when a dragon shows up, then dragging me through some hole all the way to England, apparently—"
"He's not all bad!" Darren jogged to catch up with her and matched her angry pace. He rose up in defense of his friend, even though similar complaints had been voiced by his own lips. "Finding Ecrivaine was just his—Wait, did you say dragon?" He stopped and stared horrified at Faith.
"You? Conjured a dragon?"
Faith threw up her hands. "I don't know! I just read the part that the dwarf showed me, and the dragon was just there."
Darren grabbed her hand and started back toward the main road. If they hurried, they could make it across the Scottish border to Scrabster and catch the ferry to Stromness.
"Well, Miss Faith," he said wryly, "this does make things a bit more interesting, now doesn't it?"